šŸ‡®šŸ‡³ Balancing Freedom and Health

Bangalore, India:

I’m a resident of Bangalore, who goes to college in Surathkal, near Mangalore. I’m very bored at home, just whiling away the hours, watching movies or reading books. I go out twice a week to buy the essentials.

Our college semester was cut short in the second week of March when we were all asked to return to our homes. At the time we thought, this was a short term thing, and we were anticipating a quick return back. But as it turned out, we were to be here for the long haul. Unfortunately, a lot of NRI students couldn’t make it back home in time, and have been stuck in college since. But I hear that they have been well taken care of. This gives me hope, as this is a government college and proves that the government is certainly not incapable. The exams for the current semester have been cancelled and the semester has been abruptly ended. We have had no online classes since there are many students who have no access to online resources.

In Bangalore itself, now is a time of merriment in the city, because most of the city’s inhabitants are now roaming the streets, after weeks of being shut in their homes. Of these, there are many who act without care, as they abandon masks, and disregard social distancing practices. But the local municipality (the BBMP) has now made masks compulsory in the city and have started fining those without them. Unfortunately, at the time of writing, Covid-19 is on the rise, and lockdown is being slowly done away with.

Establishing the lockdown during the early phase was certainly the right move by the government as it has undoubtedly slowed down the virus. But now, due to economic reasons and infeasibility of being under lockdown forever, the government has started “unlocking” the streets. The government must now decide whether it should prioritise the economy of the country in the short term or the long term health of the country. This is undoubtedly a very hard decision, made even harder by the fact that the chances of acquiring the virus are not a 100% even if you do not follow all the norms, and also especially the fact that the mortality rate of the virus is so low. Thus, in a manner of speaking, people have started risking their lives, so they live freely, since the risk is so less.

So it essentially comes down to the question: is freedom for a short, albeit very hard period, more important to us or living with restrictions but around a 2-3% less chance of dying?

Shankar S.

15 June 2020

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